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Going HomeBlack Representatives and Their Constituents$
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Richard F. Fenno

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780226241302

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226241326.001.0001

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Chaka Fattah 1996–2001

Chaka Fattah 1996–2001

Chapter:
(p.114) Chapter 4 Chaka Fattah 1996–2001
Source:
Going Home
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226241326.003.0004

Chaka Fattah was the fourth African American elected from Pennsylvania's Second Congressional District and represents a 100 percent urban constituency in a major American city. The most visible of his negotiating and learning experiences at home have been those involving Philadelphia's Democratic Party. Fattah's personal connections in his district rest upon his neighborhood involvements, and his life inside the House of Representatives has been driven by his policy interests and by the challenges confronting a policy-driven member of the minority party. Electorally and politically, he is strong and safe and free to pursue his policy interests as he wishes. With rare foreign policy exceptions, Fattah's roll call votes in the House pose no problems. His representational connections played out most successfully in the case of his Gear Up legislation. Experience confronted Fattah with a crucial problem of his black neighborhoods; he designed a legislative instrument to alleviate that problem; he worked out the institutional support he needed to pass it into law; and he was able to return to the district's minority neighborhoods to deliver, in person, his promissory scholarship certificates to the seventh-grade students there.

Keywords:   Chaka Fattah, policy-driven, Congressman, policy interests, Democratic Party

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